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P.G. Wodehouse wrote funny stories. Obscenely hilarious comedy stories about dim young aristocrats, overbearing aunts and very clever servants.

And of all his creations, the most memorable is the ill-fated and blue-blooded Bertie Wooster and his megabrained valet Jeeves, immortalized by Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. "The Complete Jeeves & Wooster" brings together all their madcap, bizarre little adventures in England's upper echelongs, with many a disastrous engagement and stint in prison.

Bertie Wooster (Laurie) is in need of a valet, and after a wild night out, the low-key, brainy manservant Jeeves (Fry) is sent by an agency to deal with Bertie's everyday needs.

But Jeeves doesn't just fold Bertie's hankies and give him hangover tonics -- he keeps Bertie out of all kinds of trouble. Predatory young beauties, ditzy idiot pals of Bertie's, and domineering aunts trying to marry him off, Bertie is always in hot water -- and Jeeves always is on hand, with a plot cooking in his impressive brain, to haul his hapless employer out.

"The Complete Jeeves and Wooster" is quite faithful to Wodehouse's original stories -- some stories are combined and others are separated, but they draw heavily on his kooky, bizarro prose. Lots of overbearing old aunts, exploding safes, Neo-Nazis, a constant merry-go-round of oft-broken engagements, eccentric hobbies (newts!), and young women ranging from horribly hearty to airy-fairy.

The only problem is that the stories set in New York just don't have that delicious British flavour that the rest of the series does, although they're still quite funny (Bertie being chased by a berserk cop dressed in a harem outfit). That, and the cast changes continuously.

But those small flaws don't keep the series from being hilarious, from start to finish. Every plot is a hopeless tangle of infatuations, mixups, blackmail, little books of mockery, and stolen policemen's helmets -- and yet somehow Jeeves manages to untangle it by the end. And Wodehouse's dialogue is handled in a brilliant manner ("Because he is a butterfly, who toys with women's hearts and throws them away like soiled gloves!" "Do butterflies do that?").

Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry are perfectly cast as the endearing bumbler Bertie Woosterand the dryly witty Jeeves. Though Bertie's lack of clothing sense (and a trombone) often annoys Jeeves, the brainy valet clearly does have affection for Bertie, and Bertie appreciates Jeeves' ability to save him from fates worse than death (such as marriage to the horribly hearty Honoria or the wispy, fairy-loving dimbulb Madeleine).

"The Complete Jeeves and Wooster" is a simply brilliant stretch of what-ho-what-ho comedy ("You can't be a successful dictator AND design women's underclothing") and deliciously twisting storylines. Not to be missed. Ever.
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on November 20, 2006
This series was made and acted with great love for P.G. Wodehouse, his writing and his characters. Wodehouse is perhaps the great comic author of the 20th century English speaking world. And these series does Wodehouse justice to the great credit of the series' actors and writers.

But unfortunately the video to DVD transfer, in terms of picture and colour quality, leaves something to be desired. I have seen single series DVD versions of the Jeeves & Wooster and their video colour quality is superior to the reproduction in this complete set. Hopefully one of these days we will see a complete digital remastering of the series, but this box set is visually disappointing. It's a shame the excellent work of the writers, directors and actors has had below average DVD transfer. The 'standard' transfer quality we are used to these days is generally very good, not so here.
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on May 29, 2009
The eight discs that clock in at a hefty 1150 minutes of wry British wit that stars Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry is a puzzling (re)release on a pair of critical areas: there is nothing new from the complete series that was issued in 2002 and the transfer to disc remains "iffy," which plagued its initial appearance in the marketplace.

Laurie portrays Bertram Wilberforce "Bertie" Wooster - the bumbling, dimwitted aristocrat - and Fry is the witty valet, Reginald Jeeves, in the series that is based on Sir P.G. Wodehouse's "Jeeves and Wooster" stories. The 23 episodes appeared on the ITV network from April 1990 to June 1993 and feature bossy aunts, romantic scrapes and a number of friends who just can't stay out of mischief.

Hopefully there are plans for a definitive set and this repackaging of a prior release is a bridge to that end. Though the shows were outstanding, there needs to be a serious production makeover to make for a solid collectible for fans of all ages.
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VINE VOICEon July 29, 2006
Be warned: this is one of those semi-"literary" reviews in which I'm going to talk about Wodehouse, the Jeeves and Wooster series, and the literary heirs of Wodehouse, for those who think there's no such thing as enough comedy in the world.

P. G. Wodehouse ("Plum" to his friends) was the funniest man who ever set pen to paper. He lived to the ripe old age of ninety-three and wrote over ninety books, many featuring the amiable and well-meaning, if somewhat misguided, Bertie Wooster and his brainy manservant Jeeves. Although his work stretches from the late 1890s to the early 1970s, the rudeness of the outside world almost never intrudes and there are surprisingly few cultural references. Wodehouse's stories exist in a kind of eternal Eden of innocent lads and maids chasing each other around the garden and trying to avoid the various serpents trying to crash the party. His characters are almost exclusively from that most useless branch of society, the English moneyed class, and their problems are all silly ones: which witless man will win which brainless girl, and how Aunt Dahlia can steal a silver cow-creamer for her husband so that he'll give her the necessary funds to buoy up her ladies' journal "Milady's Boudoir."

And yet. . . And it's in the "and yet" that Wodehouse makes his mark as the most brilliant social satirist of all time. Unlike George Bernard Shaw, Wodehouse makes no grand stands, addresses no revolutionary agendas. Simply, quietly, and persistently, he takes aim at pretension, meanness, and cruelty by carrying it to its most absurd extent.

Wodehouse's humor is small, domestic, personal, and eternal. Of a man engaged to a bossy woman, he writes: "He might take the view that when the little [woman] made him sit up and beg and snap lumps of sugar off his nose, it was a compliment, really, because it showed that she was taking an interest." Of a particularly bad play: "One of the critics said he had perhaps seen it at a disadvantage because when he saw it the curtain was up." And of Jeeves's morning conversation with Bertie: "The English poet Herrick expressed the same sentiment when he suggested that we should gather rosebuds while we may. Your elbow is in the butter, sir." (All quotes here from "Jeeves and The Tie That Binds.")

Now, as for Fry and Laurie's rendition of Jeeves and Wooster: it is perfect. And bear in mind that, appearances to the contrary (because Fry and Laurie make it look so effortless), Jeeves and Wooster may be the two most difficult roles in all literature. Bertie must come across as amiable and well-meaning, if a trifle dim, but not a blithering idiot. David Niven tried, and it was a disaster. Jeeves is only slightly less challenging; while he must come across as brilliant and accommodating, he must do so with dignity, with only a minimum of condescension, and with a real fondness for Bertie, something like a mother hen for a slightly addlepated chick.

Fry and Laurie are prefect, as is, by the way, the excellent dramatization and the rest of the ensemble cast. Be warned, however, once you pick up Wodehouse, you'll be hooked forever. Fortunately, his output was prodigious, so you'll have plenty to read and reread, over and over and over. The books never pall; I've read many of them several times and they are always, as Wodehouse titled one of his books, "Something Fresh."

By way of literary genealogy, Wodehouse's stylistic heirs are Douglas Adams (of "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" fame), Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy, Angel, and the Firefly/Serenity series and film), and Hugh Laurie himself, whose first book "The Gun Seller" continues in the Wodehouse tradition. For example: "I hadn't actually planned on picking his brains, because, to be honest, they weren't properly ripe yet." Or the extraordinary line: ". . . there's an undeniable pleasure in stepping into an open-top sports car driven by a beautiful woman. It feels like you're climbing into a metaphor." And as for Joss Whedon, you can practically tell which Wodehouse books he was reading while writing Buffy. When Giles tells Xander: "I suppose there's a certain Machiavellian ingenuity to your transgression," and Xander replies, "I resent that. . . .Or possibly, thank you," they might have stepped right out of Wodehouse's "Full Moon." For his part, Douglas Adams wrote some of the most purely Wodehousian lines of all time, such as: "How do you feel?" "Like a military academy; bits of me keep passing out."

So if you want smart, talky, deliciously funny stuff, you can't do better than settling down with the Fry and Laurie's Jeeves and Wooster, apart, of course, from picking up any of Wodehouse's ninety-some books. Fry and Laurie, however, are a wonderful place to start.
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on May 21, 2005
There are some very detailed reviews here, so I won't repeat what's on offer and who's who.

Let me just say that P.G. Wodehouse's books are super funny. I have read almost every single one of his scores of novels, short stories and plays, and have not found one bad apple - they are either good, brilliant or extraordinary. And of all his books, those dealing with the immortal Jeeves and his amiably idiotic employer Bertie Wooster are arguably the best.

This TV series has captured the essence of those books. The acting, the direction, the locations, the dresses of the actors, the situations are perfect. It's comedy at its unpretentious best.

Buy it, you will love it.

Here's an addition to this review after watching over 3/4ths of the titles in this set:

I would probably give this set 4.5 out of 5 stars, only for one reason: the many changes to the actors who play the supporting roles to Jeeves and Wooster in the various episodes. (Thank God they did not change Jeeves and Wooster, they are BRILLIANT.) It's a little disconcerting to watch, like and get used to Bingo Little in season 1, only to discover a new actor playing him in season 2. Or the celebrated aunts. Or a few others.

Overall, though, I would reiterate that this is a very funny series worth buying.
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on January 1, 2008
Other reviewers have addressed the contents in great and helpful detail; I will comment on the reproductions, which are rather poor. There seems to have been some sort of ill-advised pan-and-scan at work; some parts of the picture are cut off, which is most noticeable in the opening credits, where parts of the credits for the author and crew's names vanish outside the frame.

In addition, I am dismayed by the quality of the picture representation; these episodes badly need remastering. The picture quality is blurry and indistinct, and there seems to have been some color loss or color shift. The sound is rather less full than I would have liked, as well.

Perhaps this is a result of the quality of the original recordings, but I do not remember such poor picture quality on my initial televised viewing.
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P.G. Wodehouse wrote funny stories. Obscenely hilarious comedy stories about dim young aristocrats, overbearing aunts and very clever servants.

And of all his creations, the most memorable is the ill-fated and blue-blooded Bertie Wooster and his megabrained valet Jeeves, immortalized by Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. "The Complete Jeeves & Wooster" brings together all their madcap, bizarre little adventures in England's upper echelongs, with many a disastrous engagement and stint in prison.

Bertie Wooster (Laurie) is in need of a valet, and after a wild night out, the low-key, brainy manservant Jeeves (Fry) is sent by an agency to deal with Bertie's everyday needs.

But Jeeves doesn't just fold Bertie's hankies and give him hangover tonics -- he keeps Bertie out of all kinds of trouble. Predatory young beauties, ditzy idiot pals of Bertie's, and domineering aunts trying to marry him off, Bertie is always in hot water -- and Jeeves always is on hand, with a plot cooking in his impressive brain, to haul his hapless employer out.

Among the many problems they have to tackle: a stolen cow creamer, a little book of insults directed at an amateur Hitler, a starvation tactic that ends in disaster, American millionaires, a flirtation with fatherhood, scandalous memoirs, Bingo Little's countless infatuations, the havoc wreaked by mustaches, pearl necklaces going missing, and many compromising situations that begin -- or end -- unwanted engagements.

"The Complete Jeeves and Wooster" is quite faithful to Wodehouse's original stories -- some stories are combined and others are separated, but they draw heavily on his kooky, bizarro prose. Not to mention a sort of alternate between-wars England full of glamour and a merry-go-round of oft-broken engagements, with Jeeves as the calm in the storm's eye.

The only problem is that the stories set in New York just don't have that delicious British flavour that the rest of the series does, although they're still quite funny. That, and the cast changes continuously.

But those small flaws don't keep the series from being hilarious, from start to finish. Every episode is a hopeless tangle of infatuations, overbearing aunts, mixups, blackmail, newts, meddling aunts and young women ranging from devious to airy-fairy -- often all of the above. And yet somehow Jeeves manages to untangle it by the end. And Wodehouse's dialogue is handled in a brilliant manner ("Because he is a butterfly, who toys with women's hearts and throws them away like soiled gloves!" "Do butterflies do that?").

Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry are perfectly cast as the endearing bumbler Bertie Woosterand the dryly witty Jeeves. Though Bertie's lack of clothing sense (and a trombone) often annoys Jeeves, the brainy valet clearly does have affection for Bertie, and Bertie appreciates Jeeves' ability to save him from fates worse than death (such as marriage to the horribly hearty Honoria or the wispy, fairy-loving dimbulb Madeleine).

"The Complete Jeeves and Wooster" is a simply brilliant stretch of what-ho-what-ho comedy ("You can't be a successful dictator AND design women's underclothing") and deliciously twisting storylines. Not to be missed. Ever.
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on April 9, 2005
i couldn't imagine a better birthday present. when this arrived the other day, i was rather turned off; i had expected something else. however, when i switched it on an started watching it with my family, i was instantly hooked.

this impeccable series traces the insane shenanigans of Bertram Wooster, a foppy but well-meaning gent in England. after a night on the town, mr. wooster has had a touch too much to drink, and so glides in his salvation, (brilliance, in my opinion, which has manifested itself) in the form of the exquisite butler, jeeves. when jeeves arrives, Bertie's topsy-turvy exploits increase exponentially. however, this time, with Jeeves at his side, they often have happier endings.

this series is absolutely spectacular. one wonders what happened to honest-to-God humor: fresh, funny, and extremely british. the sets are all lovely, and the acting is absolutely terrific. Hugh Laurie (who is currently best known as the genius medical bastard on the hit Fox show, "House", a role, i might add, he plays really well) is an absolutely ADORABLE bertie: sweet but infintesimaly stupid. he has the most fascinating face, and it's hard to stare too long at it without laughing. he contorts it into the most peculiar shapes, and makes hysterical noises when he's in distress. he's so easy to fall in love with (not seriously; more like a protective kind of affection). stephen fry shines as the unflappable jeeves. this man has the irridescent polish of a well-cut diamond, although his subdued genius doesn't flash it too much.

all in all, this is a gorgeous series. you will love it.
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on March 14, 2009
Jeeves & Wooster is an awesomely funny series. Sadly, A&E just can't seem to put out a decent quality product. Everything I've purchased from them is lousy video quality.

It's as if they farmed it out to some low budget duplication house to save a few pennies on the cost of goods. In reality they're only cementing their reputation as a company that doesn't care about their customers. Do some Googling and you'll find a lot of complaints about the quality of their products.

How sad that a company that produces such great entertainment doesn't take the same care in producing their video products.
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on April 3, 2012
Whenever I'm down in the dumps, one of the things I can usually rely on to put me in a better mood is "Jeeves and Wooster". I don't know what it is, but there's something about this show that gives me a warm, cheerful, naïvely optimistic outlook on life -- the sort of outlook that Bertie Wooster seems to have, at least in those rare moments when, with a little help from Jeeves, he manages to escape being bullied, blackmailed, or betrothed.

In case you're not already familiar with "Jeeves and Wooster", it is a British TV show that originally ran from 1990-93 on ITV, and also aired in the U.S. as part of the PBS series "Masterpiece Theatre". The show is based on the Jeeves stories of author P.G. Wodehouse; and it stars the fabulous comedy duo of Fry and Laurie in the title roles.

Set in England (and a few episodes in New York) in the 1920s, the show recounts the misadventures of Bertram Wilberforce "Bertie" Wooster (Hugh Laurie) and his devoted manservant Reginald Jeeves (Stephen Fry). Bertie and his friends and relatives seem to have a knack for getting themselves into trouble; and they usually have to rely on Jeeves to get them out of it. Bertie Wooster is a hapless, yet loveable, upper-class twit, who just wants to enjoy a carefree life. Unfortunately, his kind heart, dim wit, and total lack of backbone make it impossible for him to avoid getting caught up in other people's drama, which he usually ends up making worse. Fortunately for him, he has Jeeves. With his stoical unflappability, his erudite wisdom, and his encyclopedic knowledge of even the most obscure bits of factual information, Jeeves is the man you want by your side in any crisis. And, since Wooster's life seems to be one crisis after another, he is very lucky to have Jeeves as his "gentleman's personal gentleman". The always-proper, always-dignified, always-faithful Jeeves can be counted on to do what's best for his master, even in the most absurd of situations.

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (1881-1975) wrote nearly 100 books -- including full-length novels and collections of short stories -- many of which recounted humorous tales about members of the British aristocracy and gentry during the early 20th century, with many of his characters appearing in multiple stories. His most famous stories were the ones about a clever valet named Jeeves who was constantly having to find ways to get his master, a wealthy loafer named Bertie Wooster, out of trouble. But characters from the Jeeves stories also appeared in many of Wodehouse's other books. He basically created an entire fictional universe of wacky characters, all of whom seemed to be connected to each other in some way, allowing him to write stories that could feature just about any combination of those characters. But his most popular characters, by far, were Jeeves and Wooster. This series is a pretty faithful adaptation of several of Wodehouse's Jeeves stories for television. The stories were dramatized for television by the late Clive Exton (1930-2007), the same brilliant screenwriter who was responsible for dramatizing 31 of Agatha Christie's stories for the wonderful ITV television series "Poirot".

The humor in "Jeeves and Wooster" is a cross between a comedy of manners and a farce. It caricatures the members of the British upper classes (especially the younger members) as eccentric, not very bright, out of touch with the real world, self-absorbed, spoiled, lazy, petulant, scheming, amoral, uncultured, bumbling, foolish, and almost totally dependant on their servants -- who are invariably portrayed as smarter, wiser, and classier than their masters -- to insure that they maintain the proper standards of decorum for people of their social standing. But most of the humor comes from the wacky schemes that these upper-class halfwits come up with in order to accomplish their selfish goals, which invariably get them into trouble. And, try as he might to avoid it, Bertie Wooster always seems to get caught right in the middle of all this trouble, and has to rely on Jeeves to get him out. Fortunately, Jeeves is so clever that he can almost always figure out a way to resolve the problem; though the resolution often comes at the expense of Bertie's pride and dignity.

Anyway, this is a great show; and I highly recommend it. Fry and Laurie are brilliant in it, as they are in everything they are in, especially when they work together. There are 23 episodes in all, over four seasons (5 episodes in the first season, 6 episodes in each of the remaining seasons). The only complaint I have is that most of the secondary characters who appear in more than one season are not played by the same actor throughout all four seasons. You get used to seeing one actor in a particular role, and then in the next season a different actor might be playing that role. It can be quite jarring. But that's my only complaint. It's a wonderful show, with lots of clever humor and witty dialogue, fun characters, and even some really good music (if you like the music of the Jazz Age as much as I do). Get it and watch it. You won't regret it.

I don't want to give away any spoilers -- it's better for new viewers to discover all the fun things about this show first hand by actually watching for themselves rather than reading about them in a review -- but I do want to pass along one little tidbit of knowledge that might enhance your appreciation of certain aspects of the show. It has to do with money. Because many of the characters in this show are quite wealthy, money is mentioned a lot throughout the series. But, since these stories are set in Britain in the 1920s, American viewers today might not have a clue what sort of sums are being discussed. For example, when a judge fines Bertie £5, or when someone asks to borrow £10 from Bertie to pay for drinks at a bar, these sound to us like fairly trivial amounts. But, actually, that was quite a lot of money back then. Five pounds sterling in 1925 would be roughly equivalent to $300 in today's money; and £10 then would be worth about $600 now. So, whenever you hear characters talking about sums of money in British pounds ("quid"), multiply that amount by 60 and you'll get a rough approximation of how much they're talking about in today's American dollars. For amounts less than £1, which are measured in shillings ("bob") and pence (where 1 shilling = 12 pence, and 1 pound = 20 shillings = 240 pence) just keep in mind that one shilling in 1925 would be roughly equivalent to $3 today, and one British penny back then would have about the same value as an American quarter does today. When they are talking about American currency (e.g. in the episodes set in New York), just multiply everything by 13 to get a very rough estimate of what it would be worth in today's dollars (e.g. $1 then = about $13 now). Understanding this will help you better appreciate the obscene amounts of money that are routinely tossed around by the wealthy characters in these stories, such as when Bertie bets £100 on a race.

So, now that you have this little bit of knowledge to aid in your enjoyment, you're ready to begin your fun adventure with "Jeeves and Wooster". Trust me, you'll love every minute of it. And, if you're in a bad mood, it just might cheer you up.
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